"One would have to have a heart of stone," Oscar Wilde once declared, "to read the death of Little Nell... without laughing," referring to Charles Dickens' account of an innocent girl's demise in his novel, The Old Curiosity Shop (1841). Wilde's mean quote comes to mind on reading the news from Gaza under the headline "Robbers Die Trying to Hold-Up Suicide Bomber." Here is the Press Association's take on what happened:
A Hamas suicide bomber blew up two armed Palestinians who tried to rob him at gun point in the Gaza Strip. …
Rather than give up his explosives, the bomber detonated them, killing himself and the two robbers near the border fence between Gaza and Israel.
Palestinian security officials said the the gunmen were criminals who were involved in a car theft ring that brought stolen vehicles from Israel to Gaza. Hamas said the bomber was on his way to try to infiltrate into Israel, accompanied by another Hamas member and a guide, when they were stopped by the armed men.
The robbers forced the bomber to lie on the ground and tried to steal the bomb, but the militant [DP comment: militant is how the press terms a terrorist, so long as he is Palestinian] detonated it, killing all three. The other Hamas man and the guide escaped.
There have been cases of rival groups stealing each other's explosives, but no group claimed the two gunmen, and their families did not go to the hospital to take the bodies, indicating that the two were not militants [DP: terrorists], who are revered in Palestinian society.
A Hamas official said that whatever their intention, the two should be considered agents of Israel. "Anyone who tries to stop a fighter from doing his work is a collaborator," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
This episode highlights two of Palestinian society's most characteristic – and hideous – attributes: terrorism and anarchy. May every suicide bomber blow himself up in this manner. (April 27, 2004)